Chicago Hit and Run Lawyer
Hit-and-run accidents in the Chicago area occur far too often. According to Grid Chicago, during the period 2005 to 2010, there were 9,125 hit-and-run fatalities.
Thousands of additional victims suffered bodily injuries or property damage.
Hit-and-runs bring a different kind of grief and frustration for its victims and their families than other types of car accidents. Even as they attempt to recover from severe injuries and seek to collect insurance compensation, surviving hit-and-run victims must live with the distressing knowledge that the perpetrator may never be brought to justice.
Such an emotional burden can compound the trauma of the accident, impeding physical recovery and leading overwhelmed victims or their families to accept less than they deserve when dealing with insurance companies – or wind up empty-handed.
What to Do after a Hit-and-Run Accident
Write down as many details as possible about the accident. Record everything you can remember: the exact location of the accident, the time of day, the make, model and color of the vehicle, and the license plate number (or even part of it). Also, take note of the direction in which the car was headed after it left the scene and ask for the names and phone numbers of any witnesses.
Call the police. Even if you don’t have much information on the fleeing vehicle, it’s a good idea to call the police to the scene. Among other things, having a police report can hasten the insurance claims process.
Take pictures of your property damage and/or bodily injuries. Having photographic evidence of the damage incurred helps prove your case and may speed the claims process.
Seek medical attention. Even if you are ready to shrug off any injuries, it’s smart to see a doctor following a hit-and-run. Sometimes injuries, such as concussion or fractures, are not immediately evident. Remember to save all medical bills and doctor’s reports. These will help prove that your injuries arose from the hit-and-run, and demonstrate the financial burden incurred.
File an insurance claim. If the perpetrator was not caught, you will need to file a claim with your own insurance. Under Illinois law, all auto insurance policies are required to a have a uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) provision. Such provisions should cover you when you suffer injuries or property damage from hit-and-run accidents.
Contact a Chicago hit-and-run accident attorney. A hit-and-run accident is a devastating experience that can upend your entire world and drain your bank account. Medical bills, lost wages, home nursing care can add up to a financial disaster. You deserve to have a lawyer in your corner who will make sure that every avenue of finding the perpetrator has been explored, and who will fight for the full and fair compensation you need and deserve from your insurance company.
What You Can Do If You Are Injured in a Hit and Run Accident
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 11 out of 100 traffic accidents involve a hit and run driver and of these, 4.3 percent result in fatalities.
In every state in United States, leaving the scene of accident is a crime, which is either a felony or misdemeanor, both punishable by jail time or a substantial fine. Depending on the circumstances of the case, the person may escape jail time by performing community service.
The problem with a hit and run accident is that a majority of hit and run drivers are not caught. In many cases, the driver is so quick to leave the scene that the victim is barely able to notice anything about the driver or the model, make or even color of the vehicle, and because of a lack of any concrete information, the driver often gets away without any punishment.
Why do drivers hit and run?
The simple reason why drivers leave the scene of accident is because they don’t want to get caught. The most common reasons for fleeing the accident scene are:
- The driver is intoxicated or under influence
- The car is stolen or the driver does not have the permission to driver
- The driver does not have insurance
- The driver does not have a valid license
- The driver is an employee and does not want his employer to know
- The driver is already wanted for more serious crimes
- The driver is in the country illegally
- The driver is engaged in a crime such as smuggling drugs or other illegal things
How to identify a hit and run driver?
Identifying and finding a hit and run driver is not an easy thing to do and you generally can’t do it without the assistance of police. However, it is not as simple as it may seem. Unless the accident involves severe injuries or a fatality, the police may consider the case low priority. If the case is serious enough and you can furnish some information about the car or driver, the police may decide to launch a criminal investigation and contact the at-fault driver. If the person you have identified is indeed found to the one who fled the accident scene, they will likely be arrested.
This rarely occurs in case of a hit and run accident. In many cases, the victim has no information about the driver or the car.
Identifying a Chicago Hit and Run Driver
One very reliable way of identifying the at-fault driver is with the help of eye witnesses. If an eye witness has noted down the license plate number, or some description of the driver or the vehicle, it can act as powerful evidence.
You can also ask the business owners in the vicinity to check their security cameras. Usually, businesses have installed cameras in the parking lots and outside their offices and these cameras may have recorded some images of the driver or vehicle. If business owners refuse to check or share their tapes, your attorney can subpoena them in the lawsuit if necessary.
Who Pays for a Hit and Run Accident?
In Illinois, your insurance company is required to offer you uninsured motorist insurance, and this insurance should cover your damages, medical bills, and more.
A hit and run car accident should be a simple matter. In fact, you’re required to be offered the same amount of uninsured motorist coverage as you purchased in liability coverage, so if you purchased the recommended $100,000 liability insurance, you should be well covered for many car accident injuries.
When It Gets Complicated
However, it is often not so simple a matter. Insurance companies hate to pay claims, and with hit-and-run accidents, they have a ready excuse not to. Insurance companies will often claim that there was no hit and run. Instead, the accident was all your fault, and you hit something other than another car, maybe a light pole, tree, or traffic divider.
Proving the existence of a hit and run driver can be hard, especially when the impact with the car was minimal but caused you to lose control and strike another object. Even if you have paint or damage at the impact point, they may claim these are traces from old accidents, dings from car doors in parking lots, or anything other than evidence of a hit and run driver.